Catalpa bignonioides

Photo (left) courtesy of Le Loup Gris & (right) Jean-Pol Grandmont

Bright chartreus foliage and showy fragrant frilly white “orchid” flowers in Summer make this one of the most gorgeous trees you can grow! Hailing from the southern U.S., this small tree is a quick grower, ultimately reaching only 20’ high and wide. Winter deciduous, its brilliant yellow-green 6-8” heart-shaped leaves unfurl in Spring with a purple tinge on the new growth. Panicles of .5” fragrant tubular flowers emerge in Summer, with each white bloom featuring yellow corollas and purple throats. Leaves turn golden yellow before dropping in the Fall. Multi-branched, with a short trunk, wide canopy and showy fissured bark. Plant in full sun to light shade in fertile, well-drained soil. May take a few years to flower. Prune to shape in Winter as needed – blooms occur on the previous year’s growth. Water regularly for first few years, drought tolerant once established. Bees and butterflies!

Curious Plantsman

Sun/Part Sun
Avg./Low Water

USDA zones 5b-10